“Crummy Stuff” – The Ramones

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“Crummy Stuff” sums up my sentiments these days about all kinds of “crummy stuff.” At age 43, there’s too many great movies I haven’t seen yet, too much great music I haven’t heard yet, too much great food I haven’t tried yet, good friends I haven’t talked to in a long time, terrific people I haven’t allowed myself to get to know better, and wonderful places I haven’t been to yet.

Seriously, why settle for McDonald’s, Katherine Heigl movies, or a–holes when the sublime is literally at your fingertips, two miles, a half-gallon of gas, a phone call, or email away? Enough with that “crummy stuff” already!  Time to bring on the stuff that makes life worth living.

“Dancing with Joey Ramone” – Amy Rigby

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What was it about Joey Ramone that inspires the most loving tributes from fans and fellow musicians?    Probably because in most of the tributes I’ve read and heard, he was universally talked about as being a sweetheart and a gentleman.   This is a lovely song by Amy Rigby that I heard over the weekend on the Sirius satellite radio channel Little Steven’s Underground Garage.   Joey’s brother Mickey Leigh paints a far darker picture of the man in his memoir “I Slept with Joey Ramone.”  I don’t doubt Mickey’s account, but I also don’t doubt everyone else’s accounts either.  I interviewed Joey for my college newspaper in 1990 and got a chance to meet him (and the rest of the Ramones) backstage after the gig he played near my local college.  The show started 2 hours late due to (from what I was told) some issues with their road crew at the previous gig, but the Ramones gave it their all and still performed a great show.  A friend of the club owner invited me backstage, and as soon as I got there, I immediately felt that I needed to leave.  Not because I didn’t feel worthy, but because the band looked really tired and I felt they needed their space.  However, Joey and the rest of the band  received me graciously and were very cool.  I told them they played a great gig, that I appreciated their music, and then left after a minute or two of minor chitchat.  Again, they had no reason in the world to be cool to me, but they were.  I’ll always be thankful for that and it’s an example I’ve always tried to keep in mind on how to treat people, even when you don’t feel like being your best.